Losing a Mother

January 14, 2012

With great surprise – the New Year has started off by offering me 3 funerals to attend in 8 days. I have read that people “on the edge of glory” (thank you Lady Gaga) have a strange tendency to wait until the holidays are finished to pass over. Perhaps their souls have this great desire for one more holiday season because they know that, for the most part, families get together and reunite from near and far – and it makes it an easier transition for those left behind to remain together in support of a difficult moment.

Two of the three “passings” were people’s mothers (the third was a grandmother….still, someone’s mother!). While it is never easy to lose a parent – and there are people who have tremendously warm, close connections to their fathers – for the most part (in my generation) it was the mothers who were the primary caregivers and losing a mother, even one you were not close to, is exceptionally painful. Perhaps it is because we come from their bodies and that the 9 months spent in silent connection holds a bond that we are not consciously aware of. They were the ladies who sat on the edge of our beds, comforting us when we were sick; applying those cool facecloths to our foreheads when we were feverish; the  ones who, after expertly applying bandaids to our knees, kissed our boo-boos better with some magic mother elixi; the ones who folded us into their arms when they saw that hurt look in our eyes. So much of being a mother is about the unspoken.

To the grieving children left behind all I can ever think to offer is the idea that I believe that the unspeakable bond of motherhood reaches far beyond the grave – in fact it never actually leaves us at all. True – we can’t see them any more – but we can call them up. Those times when you aren’t sure what to do about a situation…or when your heart is breaking, and you are consumed with an uncontrollable sadness ….I believe that mothers can sense this and the  wash of calm that sometimes comes over you, seemingly out of nowhere is perhaps…your Mom, still sitting on the edge of your bed.


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